From the Beckley Register-Herald:
Note: What public interest is there in the names and addresses of law-abiding citizens who obtain concealed weapons’ permits? And if there is legitimate public interest, then why must the addresses be included? Why not start publishing the names and addresses of welfare recipients? Taxpayer money is being funneled to it, government bureaucrats are administering it, and members of the public are receiving it. The answer: the Press supports expanded welfare programs, but does not support the 2nd Amendment. – John H. Bryan, West Virginia criminal defense attorney.
Concealed weapons bill in limbo in House
By Mannix Porterfield
CHARLESTON — Delegate Rick Moye packs a hidden piece for his personal protection but is ambivalent about a proposal to deny public access to concealed weapons permits.
Moye’s reservations aren’t unique in the House of Delegates.
This week, the Rules Committee yanked from the active House calendar legislation that would make it no one’s business just who is toting a firearm under a court-approved permit. The bill was offered by Delegate Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, with 10 co-sponsors, among them Delegates Mike Burdiss, D-Wyoming, Joe Talbott, D-Webster, and Mike Porter, R-Mercer.
There is a chance, however, the measure might be tweaked so its scope is narrowed to the very people it was intended to protect — victims of domestic violence.
“I can see both sides of that story,” says Moye, a school bus driver and body shop owner in Raleigh County.
“I can understand why you wouldn’t want that to be public knowledge for everyone to know. On the other hand, it’s a public record. When do you draw the line that you can conceal information?”
Obviously, the Rules Committee had problems wrestling with that as well, especially after the West Virginia Press Association reared itself into the issue, Majority Leader Joe DeLong, D-Hancock, said Thursday.
“I’m not sure where we’re at in the process, but I hope we can go back and revisit that bill and put an exemption in it when it comes to victims of domestic violence,” he said.
“I think that was the original intent of the bill. I think that’s what spurred this legislation.”
Domestic violence victims secured concealed weapons permits, only to have their addressed revealed to the reading public by newspapers, the majority leader said.
“We may be able to carve out an exemption for those people without taking away what’s considered to be the general right of the public to have access to this information,” DeLong said.
“The problem is in trying to strike a balance. There’s a certain segment of people that we’re trying to help. We still need to help those people and protect them. At the same time, we want to recognize the freedom of the press in having this type of information available as it should be in most other cases.”
Moye said he has no problem with people knowing he is legally armed. Without elaborating, the delegate said he got the permit for his personal protection.
“I’m a firm believer in my rights to keep and bear arms,” Moye said.
“I’ll not shy away from that at all. I just feel like it is a right, a privilege that I have, and I will exercise that privilege. And I totally support the Castle Doctrine. Common sense tells me that if someone is going to come and harm me, I don’t want to run from them.”